Zoella: 6 Things to know about the author who broke J.K. Rowling's record

Dec 5, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. ET
Image: Zoella / Instagram

Have you heard of Zoella?

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The young author just dropped her debut book, Girl Online, and smashed some pretty impressive records — she sold more copies in her first week than anyone since the record was established, including J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey.

It turns out, the CEO of Penguin Random House only signed Zoella, whose real name is Zoe Elizabeth Sugg, because his goddaughter said the book would be "a huge best-seller."

Since it is, in fact, a huge best seller, here are six things you should learn about Zoella — unless you're a teen girl, in which case you already know these things.

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1. She's vastly, globally popular — almost exclusively among young girls

If you haven't heard of Zoella, don't be concerned. And if you have heard of her, but you don't get her at all, still don't be concerned. Her massive fan base is comprised almost entirely of young girls — girls who live and die by fashion and makeup. You know, things that are "quiche" and "reem," as Zoella would say. We think those words mean "cool," but really, it's anyone's guess.

2. She's one of the most followed celebrities in Britain

Zoella's YouTube channel has more than 6 million subscribers. 3.5 million people follow her on Instagram and 2.6 million follow her on Twitter, making her one of the U.K.'s most prominent online celebrities.

3. She's winning awards like crazy

Zoella was crowned Best British Vlogger 2013 at the Radio 1 Teen Awards and, this year, she won UK Favourite Vlogger at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

4. She's extremely shy

She may look ridiculously poised in her videos, but Zoella is actually extremely shy and suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. She once panicked and had to leave a One Direction concert early.

"We were surrounded by people and it was so unexpected and stressful that the security men had to rescue me," she told the Telegraph. "I was so upset I had to go home before a single note was played."

5. She's surrounded by people who are famous online

Zoella's brother is another YouTube star who goes by the name of Thatcher Joe. Her grandfather has more than 40,000 Instagram followers. And her boyfriend, Alfie, and her best friend, Louise, both have successful YouTube channels. The three are known as the "Brit Crew," and they often appear in each other's videos, which pools their followers.

6. She's squeaky clean

According to one journalist, Zoella is "the perfect role model: creative, clean-living, kind to small animals, going steady." The 24-year-old vlogger refuses to get a tattoo or any more piercings — she already has one in each ear — and she doesn't drink or do drugs.

"I know that I do have influence over the people who watch me, and it's quite a pressure," she said in one interview. "I have to stay positive and while I would never use the words 'role model', I am mindful of the responsibilities that come with a substantial viewership."

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